Skift Take

The seat problems at American Air speak to the ongoing challenges airlines have to improve any aspect of the passenger experience.

What to Know Now

New long-haul premium seats may be in the works for American Airlines, but it’s not for the typical reasons. Apparently the airline is currently bickering with Zodiac, its premium seat manufacturer, about deliverables and the whole relationship is falling apart.

So what’s next? View from the Wing speculates that the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond business class seat may be up to bat. There’s also an outside chance that Zodiac and American will kiss and make up.

Either way, cabin retrofits on the 777-200 and installs on the new 787 are going to slow down until a decision is made — so plan on staying in those angled flat seats for a tiny bit longer.


N803AL American Airlines 787-8 currently being stored with engines covered until Zodiac can deliver first class

@woody2190 | Woody’s Aeroimages



6 Insights From Vueling’s CEO on Running the Contrarian Low-Cost Carrier: Can a low-cost carrier transcend the bare bones model and bring added value and convenience to passengers through user-friendly digital platforms, without breaking the bank? Spanish low-cost airline, Vueling, has. Read more at Skift

American Air Says It Is Cancelling Orders From Lie-Flat Seat Maker: American Airlines Inc. will replace Zodiac Aerospace as the supplier of premium business-class seats for its Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliners and some 777-200s because of delays in deliveries. Read more at Skift

United’s New CEO Tells Employees That He Knows Things Are Bad: The new chief executive officer of United Continental Holdings Inc. pledged to unite a divided workforce by consulting with affected employees before adopting any cost cuts and by scrutinizing the use of outside management consultants. Read more at Skift

Flexjet Plans to Take on Warren Buffett’s NetJets in Europe: Flexjet, the biggest challenger to Warren Buffett’s NetJets luxury aviation unit, plans to expand to Europe next year, possibly through an acquisition. Read more at Skift



It’s Official: Hotel at JFK in Old TWA Terminal Gets 70-Year Lease From Port Authority: A JetBlue spokesperson tells Skift that the airline plans on extending “the JetBlue experience” through the elevated passageways that connect T5 and the old TWA Terminal where the hotel will be. The Port Authority plans on investing in a connector to T5. The hotel, of course, will be open to the public and crew from any airline, not just JetBlue. Read more at Skift

United Airlines Isn’t Doing Well in Las Vegas As Airport Sees 4 Million Passengers in August: Airport traffic in Las Vegas held steady with 4 million passengers in August. Read more at Skift

London City Airport Stuck in Limbo as Politicians Debate Heathrow Expansion: London City Airport, offered for sale by its U.S. owner, has seen its growth plans fall victim to a political spat over the expansion of the U.K. capital’s Heathrow hub, Chief Executive Officer Declan Collier said. Read more at Skift

Small Illinois Airport Betting Future on Vegas Flights When All Else Has Failed: A little-used southern Illinois air strip once touted as a competitor to the St. Louis area’s primary airport is rolling the dice that new Las Vegas service will help stem nearly two decades of financial losses. Read more at Skift

Project Time Off Forum


How Americans’ Vacation Time Fell Victim to the Internet, Mobile and Corporate Culture: The average number of vacation days taken by the U.S. workforce began a precipitous decline around the turn of the century, coinciding roughly around the rise in ubiquity of Windows 98, desktop browser integration, AOL, and broadband access. Read more at Skift

Google bringing high-speed Wi-Fi to 100 Indian rail stations by the end of 2016: The railroad in India is called “The Lifeline to the Nation” — it’s a stunning operation that brings over 13 million riders a day to more than 7000 stations spread across 67,000 miles (108,000 km) of track. And that lifeline is about to get a small digital upgrade that should help keep people connected. Read more at The Verge

7 Charts Explaining U.S. Business Travelers’ Booking Habits: The convenience of booking business travel is a luxury not every U.S. business traveler can enjoy thanks to sometimes confusing corporate travel policies and relatively arcane booking tools. Read more at Skift

Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite National Park


Google Accelerates Moves to Become Leading Hotel-Booking Player: When the U.S. Department of Justice decided a week ago not to stand in the way of Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide, the DOJ cited Google’s hotel and flight products as a sign that new players are emerging to ensure a competitive market. Read more at Skift

Expedia Pushes Further Into Hotel Services With Mobile App for Hoteliers: Expedia wasn’t going to let’s foray into an array of business to business services for hoteliers go unanswered so Expedia has launched a new mobile app just for hoteliers to better-manage their listings on the online travel agency’s site. Read more at Skift

Jilted Hotel Operator at Yosemite Sues for Rights to Landmarks’ Names: A company that lost its long-held contract to run Yosemite National Park’s hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities has filed a lawsuit demanding to be paid for the rights to the names of famous park landmarks worth an estimated $51 million. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Will McGrath’s latest in The Atlantic traces his friend’s lost iPhone out of the Hamptons and into… Yemen. Read the fascinating piece here.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

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Photo credit: A business class seat from Zodiac Rival B/E Aerospace. B/E Aerospace

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